Olio: Design Done Different
Brand Strategy with a Human Center
Nov 7, 2019

Photos & Video by Ryan Stopera

Meet Danielle Tornquist, the leader behind Olio. They’re one of the 12 purpose-driven businesses and organizations that have come together in support of Pollen’s mission to change our collective story for the better. Together, they challenge Pollenites to raise $20,000 by Give to the Max Day on November 14, which they will match dollar for dollar.

Match the hive and donate today.



All About Olio:

Olio combines human-centered design and brand strategy to create experiences that connect a client’s purpose to their people in profound ways. “We use design thinking practices to explore and test ideas that make real impact in real lives,” says founder Danielle Tornquist. Olio’s partners include a number of community-based nonprofits seeking creative solutions that are born from a stated need—and Olio helps them explore innovative, mission-driven paths.

“We seek to listen and learn from people and communities,” says Danielle. “We start from a place of openness and curiosity, and use our creative problem solving skills to turn what we discover into meaningful interactions.”


POLLEN: What are the critical stories in your community that need to be spotlighted?

It’s essential to create space and opportunities where everyone can feel comfortable telling their story. In my line of work I’ve learned that it’s really important to not make assumptions about whose story will or won’t be powerful, because it’s impossible for one person to know what will resonate with someone else. We need to turn up the volume and add more varied, diverse voices to the mix, period.


POLLEN: What are the core values of your business? What’s the story behind how you arrived at those values?

Respect, trust, openness, integrity and freedom. Becoming a first-time, first-generation solopreneur requires a lot of soul searching. These are the values that, I believe, bring out the best in myself and others on a daily basis. They are the qualities that allow me to grow, find peace, and connect with others in deep, authentic ways.



POLLEN: When’s the last time you made an unexpected connection that turned out to be beautiful and transformative?

I sit down with a lot of people for one-on-one coffee talks. That’s my ideal form of networking. Recently, I met someone for the first time and within minutes of talking we had a mild exchange of tears. It was an affirming, honest, and tender moment. And it served as an important reminder that this world consists of real, layered, complex people, so the best we can do for each other is to show up fully and authentically as often as possible.



POLLEN: What responsibilities do you feel as a business leader in your community?

Design has the potential to influence and leave a lasting impression on people, so it’s imperative that I act as a responsible steward of that power. Which is a big part of what I love about Human-Centered Design. Allowing the needs and desires of people and communities to be the north star of a project requires a lot of intentionality and trust from everyone involved. It’s not easy to navigate, but it’s also too important to disregard.



Find Olio and give them an online hug for supporting Pollen.


Posted by Pollen on Nov 7, 2019
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